Planning for Your Acreage Home: A Super Practical Guide

As Calgary and its surrounding communities continue to grow, many people are moving out of the city and onto acreages. The accessibility to larger city centers and the unparalleled natural beauty make this area perfect for building custom acreage or estate homes.  

There are many things to consider, though, when searching for the right property and planning to build a custom home on an acreage. To help you get started, we have put together this super practical guide with some of the essential things to keep in mind when planning your acreage home. 

One of the biggest things to be mindful of when planning to build a custom home on an acreage is what will be required for the utilities. What many people do not realize is that the utility connections make up a substantial part of the cost to build on an acreage. When looking for a property, you will want to know where the gas and electrical lines are and how far away your home will be from those locations. The further your home is from those lines, the more cost these hookups can potentially add to your build.

When considering the electrical lines, you may want to engage the service provider to see if a new transformer will be required for your home or if they can use an existing transformer. If a new one is required, this will add further cost to the build as well. If you own a property in Rocky View County, you can reach out to Fortis for this information and to see how much it will cost to connect to the electrical service.

Here in Rocky View County, the natural gas service provider is Cochrane Lake Gas Coop and they charge a flat fee for natural gas installations and meter connections.

If you are building in another municipality, you will want to check with your service providers for more details on how their service fees are structured and what will be required for your property.  

Most acreage homes are not connected to municipal water, so another thing you will need to keep in mind when planning for your acreage home is what water system you will use. Wells and cisterns (or a combination of the two) are the two most common water systems for acreage homes in the Calgary area.

One of the biggest factors that will determine the cost here is the depth of the well on your property and the proximity of the well to the building site of your new home.

Another thing to be aware of is the strength of the well. Around 5 gallons per minute for the well will suffice for most single-family homes, but the more gallons per minute you can have, the better. If the well’s performance is around 1-2 gallons a minute, it is usually recommended to install a cistern so that there is enough water throughout the day when there is a higher demand for water.  

Rocky View County and most other municipalities can provide you with detailed information about the well on the property you are considering. Prior to purchasing the lot, we always recommend reaching out to them so you can make the most informed decision and can determine what property is best for you. 

If you are building a new custom home on an acreage, you will also need to consider how sewage will be disposed of and which sewage options are right for your property. The most common septic options include septic holding tanks and tanks with a septic field.

When planning the location and general design of your new home, it is important to consider where the septic system will be located as well. For example, the septic system will need to be a certain distance from the well head. Additionally, if your property is heavily treed and the septic system will be located far from your home, there will be additional site preparation costs to account for.

When preparing for your new home, your builder will engage a company specializing in septic design. That company will then conduct a site survey and soil samples to provide a recommendation for which type of septic system is best for your property. They will also determine what the best location is for your septic system.

Site Preparation
There is something to be said about the quintessential home tucked away in a heavily forested area the end of a long, winding driveway. For many people, that is the ideal picture of living on an acreage. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when it comes to site preparation and the potential costs associated with it.

One of those factors is the road or driveway needed for your property. It is important to consider how long of a road or driveway you will need to your ideal building site and how much the grades will need to change to achieve that. Excavation and building a road can both add substantial cost to building an acreage home, so processing through these details ahead of time can help to determine which property will be the right fit for your home, especially from a cost perspective.

As mentioned earlier, if your property is heavily treed, the cost to clear those trees to prepare the site for your build can be quite significant as well. How many trees will need to be cleared to make room for your new home? Are there many trees that will need to be removed for the driveway or septic field? What do you plan to do with the trees once they are cleared? These are all important questions to ask.

Finally, you will want to make sure that your property is conducive for the type of house you want to build. Is there a slope on the property that will work well for a walk-out basement or is the property completely flat? These are also important considerations to take into account when planning for your new acreage home.

Architectural Guidelines
Last, but certainly not least, if you are purchasing a property in a subdivision or an acreage development, you will want to verify if there are any architectural guidelines to adhere to when planning or designing your new home. Often these subdivisions or developments have specific requirements for what size of house you can build, what exterior style the home needs to have, or other parameters around building. It is good to be aware of what these requirements are ahead of time to ensure there are no surprises during the design or build process.

What’s Next?
There are many things to keep in mind when searching for the right property and preparing to build your new acreage home and it can be difficult to know where to start. One of our top recommendations is to involve a custom home builder early on in the design process to ensure all the important details are accounted for. An experienced custom home builder familiar with the ins and outs of building acreage or estate homes will foresee the potential cost implications of a difficult site or architectural features and can help you to design a custom home that aligns with both your vision and your budget.

Want to learn more about building a custom acreage or estate home? Braemyn Homes is Calgary’s preferred custom home builder. Our clients can expect the highest standard of excellence delivered with exceptional craftsmanship and superb customer care. Call us at (403) 606-2923 or fill out our contact form to see how we can help you make your dream home happen.

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